I hate the group. I quit. I’m not going back.

This time I do send the email, and we duly discuss it in my session, pulled up on Ron’s iPhone.

This night is chiefly another’s story, but I end up so disturbed I want to quit.

My frenemy E starts right in, and speaks steadily for a long time. I’ve decided to try and listen as much as possible, because I took centre stage last time. It’s difficult, as I’ve been feeling horrible. I’m sitting there feeling like I’m choking, and also thinking about death. So it’s difficult.

E has difficulties with her mother, and I give some feedback. Then she talks about how she’s lost motivation for coming to the group. Ron duly probes, and clearly, they’ve discussed all this already in her session.

E brings up some problems she’s had with R and with yours truly, and how she’s since felt disconnected. One of the problems she’s had is my leaving the group sometimes, when I get overwhelmed. Plus she doesn’t like when I interrupt either.

I feel really down when she talks about this. I’m trying so hard, sitting there, trying not to fragment or interrupt or leave. I turn a stone I’ve brought over and over in my hands.

  1. One of the hardest things for me, too, in group was when one of the members would get up and leave. It was always the same member, and it always seemed to happen when i talked. It triggered so many things in me… mostly to do with my mother and her turning her back on me when i was most vulnerable (after a suicide attempt). I tried and tried to explain to this woman how her actions were affecting me to no avail, she still fled the room most days. In the end I just ignored her. I think I'm telling you this because I want you to know in a group your actions are always going to affect others, but in the end it is up to the other person, E in this case, me in my case, to deal with the root causes of our upset. You are only a symbol of a deeper, older hurt.

  2. Ellen said:

    Did you ask her why she fled while you were talking? Were you able to see that she too had issues that where overwhelming her? E is affected by me, but I also am by her. Dealing with her is so painful, I want to leave the group. My leaving has nothing to do with E and I don't think I've left while she was speaking ever. Anyhow, it does affect her. That knowledge doesn't help me stay though. What does help are other things. It is good to hear your story. Thanks

  3. All she would ever say was "I can't handle it…" but never say what she couldn't handle or what she was feeling, either before she fled, after she returned, or even the next day. She was totally shut down.I guess i could see she had issues, but I thought we could talk it through together and come to some resolution or mutual understanding. But that never happened. I think if she made an effort to try and talk rather than flee I would have been more sympathetic. But this was 8 weeks of daily group therapy and she never shared what was going on with her. Did you notice that in one sentence you say dealing with her is so painful you want to leave the group, and in the next sentence you say it has nothing to do with her. Maybe it's a bit of both. I'm sorry if I came across as judgemental, I just wanted to share my experience as being on the other side of a "flee-er"….Have you been to see the cherry blossoms?

  4. Ellen said:

    That would also bother me Catherine, if someone won't talk, especially in a therapy group. How can you understand her point of view if she won't talk? You would need that in order to bring an interaction into the present, out of the past. I totally understand why you ended up ignoring her. Oh, I was talking about leaving in two different ways – sorry, very stupid. I meant dealing with E is so painful, I want to quit the group for good. Then, by 'my leaving the group has nothing to do with her' I meant those unfortunate occasions where I leave the group for a few minutes, hanging out in the washroom, so I can feel less panicky. I don't do that because of a specific person. I appreciate your sharing your experience and I don't think you were judgmental. I haven't seen the blossoms yet, and usually go every year. Want to go? Monday would work for me.

  5. I would love to go see the cherry blossoms! Monday works. Let me recharge the battery on my camera. Fingers crossed it doesn't rain. I'll email you to set up a time, C.

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